As governors and state public health agencies begin to complete COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plans for the Next 1b Phase, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) urges governors and state public health agencies to include hotel employees to be included in Phase 1b of the vaccination rollout.
It is important to note that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hotel workers have been at the forefront – working to support frontline and health workers across the country. Through AHLA’s “Hospitality for Hope Initiative”, the hotel industry continues to offer temporary housing to emergency and health workers so they can stay closer to their hospital or medical center. In addition, many hotels across the country now serve as quarantines for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Hotel employees also remain at the forefront of interstate travelers, which also adds an exposure risk.
Prioritizing hotel employees with access to the vaccine will provide a necessary layer of protection, which is why it is crucial that governors and state health agencies include hotel workers during the Phase 1b vaccine rollout with other key staff.
December 18, 2020
Governor Andrew Cuomo, President
Governor Asa Hutchinson, Vice President
National Governors Association
444 North Capitol Street NW # 267
Washington, DC 20001
Ad: Prioritization of hotel employees for inclusion in phase 1b distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine
Dear President Cuomo and Vice-President Hutchinson,
We greatly appreciate your ongoing leadership and efforts to protect the public, as we continue to face this unprecedented public health crisis.
As the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine begins across the country, we are now one step closer to ending the pandemic. And as you are probably aware, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) shared recommendations for the vaccine. Phase 1 of the CDC’s proposed rollout, divided into three phases, prioritises healthcare providers and long-term care residents (Phase 1a), key staff (Phase 1b) and adults with high-risk medical conditions, and adults 65 and older (Phase 1c). Now that governors and state public health agencies are beginning to finalize COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans, we urge states to consider hotel employees being included in Phase 1b of the vaccination rollout.
The Agency for Cyber Security and Infrastructure (CISA), a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), classifies key employees as “workers who perform a range of operations and services that are typically critical to the continued viability of infrastructure.” CISA identifies “management and staff of hotels and other temporary accommodation facilities that provide COVID-19 mitigation, containment and treatment measures or provide accommodation for key employees” as key employees. Hotels have been used as quarantine sites for many during the pandemic and helped support all levels of government by opening our doors to first aiders and medical professionals for a place to live closer to their hospital or place work as they offer around the clock. care for patients. Hotel workers also remain at the forefront, and every day they come to work, they welcome both global and domestic travelers, increasing their likelihood of getting the virus. While hotels have protocols to ensure limited contact between staff and guests, prioritizing staff with access to the vaccine will provide another layer of protection.
Since the pandemic, the hotel industry has worked diligently to support frontline health professionals and first responders through the AHLA’s “Hospitality for Hope Initiative.” The initiative was launched in March and is designed to match emergency and health workers in need of temporary accommodation with hotels during this unprecedented health crisis.
Hospitality for Hope was established in partnership with AHLA’s partnership associations and identified more than 17,000 properties nationwide located close to health facilities ready to assist government efforts. Hospitality for Hope partnered the hotel industry with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local emergency management and public health agencies to provide access to hotel properties and space to support frontline workers in need of temporary housing while working on the front lines of the pandemic. And as the nation continues to fight the pandemic, the hotel industry remains committed to serving and housing the frontline medical staff and vulnerable populations across the country.
The hotel industry has a long-standing commitment to cleanliness and safety for our employees and guests and rolled out our Safe Stay Guidelines to raise our cleaning and disinfection efforts even further. However, our employees remain at the forefront of interstate travelers, increasing the risk of exposure – another important reason why hotel workers should be included in the Phase 1b vaccine distribution. Due to their frequent proximity to hospitals and critical infrastructure such as airports and highways, hotels could possibly be used during vaccine distribution, increasing the need for vaccine distribution among hotel employees.
During the pandemic, we have continued and built on this commitment to ensure that hotels are cleaner and safer than ever before. In line with guidelines issued by public health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), AHLA launched “Safe Stay” – a commitment across the industry to improved cleaning protocols and safety guidelines to address and overcome concerns raised under Covid19- pandemic. Safe Stay has been approved by leading researchers, doctors and public health experts in the field of epidemiology and infectious diseases.
Travel and tourism are critical drivers of the US economy, and while travel demand has hit record highs, it will prioritize hotel staff during the vaccine rollout to keep both staff and guests safe when it becomes safe to travel and resume meetings and events.
As an industry of people taking care of people, the hotel industry has taken steps to support and strengthen society during this public health crisis. We ask that the employees who run our industry be given priority in phase 1b of the vaccine.
Once again, we thank you for your support, and we ask that you prioritize hotel employees as states that complete the recommendations for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
President and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association
CC: Governors of the United States